The Golden Bachelor’s Gerry Turner is ready to fall in love again — but keeps late wife Toni Turner close to his heart.
“I married my high school sweetheart, Toni, in 1972. We had 43 wonderful years together. We had two daughters and I now have two wonderful granddaughters. We had a real typical but full life. Full of love, full of love, full of activity,” Gerry, 71, said in a Monday, August 14, teaser that aired during The Bachelorette: Men Tell All special. “As years went on, I retired and we had a plan. We had an idea of what our dream house was going to be, so when Toni retired the end of May in 2017, we bought that dream house.”
Gerry shared the couple closed on their home just one month later — but things went awry when Toni became increasingly ill over the following weeks.
“We went to the emergency room and she had a bacterial infection that infected her kidneys and infested her liver,” he explained. “And so I took my wife to the emergency room on July 7 and she passed away on July 15. Now every time I look at [the lake outside my house] I go, ‘This is her dream. This is what she deserves. Why am I standing here alone?’”
This spring marked six years since Toni passed away. While no one could ”ever replace” his late wife, Gerry shared that the love of his family “pulled me out of a dark spot” and he’s now ready to find love again.
“My dad is just such a fun guy. He’s so personable and lovable. He’s so kind and he has so much to give, he just deserves to find that in somebody else,” Gerry’s daughter Angie said while reassuring her dad that he will find someone who makes him “happy.”
Elsewhere in the teaser, Gerry could be seen goofing around with his kids, practicing for upcoming rose ceremonies and opening up about the details of the Bachelor process to friends at a bar.
“I don’t know that they’ve even been chosen yet, but I have passed the STD and the drug test,” he quipped to pals, before joking to cameras: “Best case scenario is I find out Helen Mirren is on the market and she’s really happy to be on The Golden Bachelor.”
Gerry admitted that his biggest fear is “remembering 25 names” when he first meets the contestants competing for his heart. The senior version of the long-running ABC series is set to premiere this fall and will follow Gerry as he hands out golden roses to women between the ages of 60 to 70.
“I hope at the end of it I find the person that I’ll spend the rest of my life with that will complete our family,” Gerry said in Monday’s clip while holding back tears. “I want to fall in love, I want to find my person who can put me in my place when I need it and make me smile at it. The person who can lay down beside you at night, not have to say anything and you feel it. That’s love. That’s what I want. And I know that person’s out there.”
While Gerry and his family are excited for this next chapter of his life, there are a few aspects of the Bachelor process that they’re hesitant about — the Fantasy Suites in particular.
“I just think that a Fantasy Suite for someone of my age may look quite different. The activities could be quite different than for someone in their 20s and 30s,” Gerry told Entertainment Tonight in an interview last month, sharing that it’s his family who is most wary about the overnight dates.
“[It makes] my daughters a lot more nervous than me,” he said of daughters Angie and Jenny and granddaughters Charlee and Payton, adding that an onscreen makeout is definitely not an option. “They said absolutely none of that. They said don’t do it,” he laughed.
The Golden Bachelor is currently filming and is slated to premiere on ABC this fall.